Saturday, July 16, 2011

Discovery News Reports on “Neandertals’ Last Stand”

Disovery News reports on the excavation of the Mousterian site of Byzovaya, in Russia, in the Ural Mountains that has been dated to 33,000 years ago. Jennifer Viegas writes:
A Neanderthal-style toolkit found in the frigid far north of Russia's Ural Mountains dates to 33,000 years ago and may mark the last refuge of Neanderthals before they went extinct, according to a new Science study.

Another possibility is that anatomically modern humans crafted the hefty tools using what's known as Mousterian technology associated with Neanderthals, but anthropologists believe that's unlikely.

"We consider it overwhelmingly probable that the Mousterian technology we describe was performed by Neanderthals, and thus that they indeed survived longer, that is until 33,000 years ago, than most other scientists believe," co-author Jan Mangerud, a professor emeritus in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bergen and the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, told Discovery News.
Even before I got to the bottom of the article and saw Erik Trinkaus’ comments, I was thinking “What about the Neandertal site of Zafarraya, which is certainly 31,700 and possibly as recent as 27,000?” I think this does extend the range of the late Neandertals but there is scant evidence that this is their last stand.

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